Have you ever been to restaurant and found out you can’t eat ANYTHING because of your dietary restrictions?
What do you eat now when you can’t have any of the food provided at the restaurant?
The night before the 4th of July, my family usually eats at Olive Garden and then watches the fireworks held right in the parking lot area near by. Well, this year was the first year eating at Olive Garden with my well-known food sensitivities where I know for sure what I can and can’t have. I still went to the restaurant to be with family and friends unsure if there was anything I could eat because I wanted to hang out and enjoy the fireworks after.
Last year, I had a stomach ache after eating some fettuccine alfredo and now I know why. When I told the waiter about my sensitivities he went to check on the food items I had in mind that I wanted to eat. He came back telling us that they use canola oil in the fried food, which makes sense, and the lasagna was made elsewhere and shipped to them, so the ingredients were unknown, which means I was safer not eating it, not knowing how it’s made or what’s in it. He said the sauce had no oil in it, so I should be fine there, but the breadsticks are frozen with no ingredients listed, so I couldn’t eat those either. I then went to order regular spaghetti with maraina sauce and that’s when he came back with the bad news.
Luckily, the waiter checked with a guy who is part of the prep crew. That’s when we found out that they make everything in the morning beforehand and then pre-drizzle it all in canola oil. Every single food item has came in contact with canola oil, which is what I’m sensitive to, which means I couldn’t eat ANYTHING not even just plain noodles with butter or absolutely nothing on it. Nope! Why? Because those plain noodles have been covered in canola oil, which explains why I had a stomach after eating the fettucini alfredo a year before; the noodles have already came in contact with canola oil.
The good news is that I knew I could eat the salad appetizer that comes with the meals, just without the croutons and luckily with the dressing, which I was able to read the ingredients beforehand. I was eating my salad, waiting for everyone to get their meals, when I remembered that Trader Joe’s is a couple stores down. So, I left the restaurant and walked down to Trader Joe’s where I got a bag of rolls and some gluten-free oatmeal cranberry cookies, both of which were delicious. I lucked out there.
At the end of the day, I’ve learned never to go to Olive Garden ever again because there is absolutely nothing I can eat. I’ve also learned to always bring safe snacks with you when you go to a restaurant because you may not be able to eat one thing there. Or if you can eat one item, it may not be enough to fill you up, so it’s always better to have back-up snacks. Although, the salad that came with the meals was technically free for me, plus free water, so my whole family-size salad “meal” at Olive Garden was free and only cost me about $5 for Trader Joe’s bread and cookies. I then enjoyed the rest of my night watching the fireworks and hanging out with family and friends. Overall, it was still a fun night and I didn’t completely starve as I was still able to at least eat something.